The Debrief: What you need to know on the deal: Israel and the United Arab Emirates have reached an agreement – brokered by the United States – to work towards a “full normalisation of relations”, a deal the Palestinians called a “treacherous stab in the back”.
Under the agreement announced by the US President Donald Trump on Thursday, Israel said it has agreed to “delay” the annexation of Palestinian lands in the occupied West Bank, but the plan “remains on table”.
The UAE is the first Gulf Arab state and the third Arab nation – after Egypt and Jordan – to announce active ties with Israel.
The surprise deal was the product of lengthy discussions between Israel, the UAE and the US that accelerated recently, the White House said.
A joint Israel-UAE statement was also tweeted out by Trump, who called the deal a “huge breakthrough”.
The agreement came after a phone call earlier on Thursday between Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi.
“This historic diplomatic breakthrough will advance peace in the Middle East region and is a testament to the bold diplomacy and vision of the three leaders and the courage of the United Arab Emirates and Israel to chart a new path that will unlock the great potential in the region,” said the joint statement.
Delegations from Israel and the UAE would meet in coming weeks to sign bilateral agreements on investment, tourism, direct flights, security, telecommunications and other issues, the statement said.
Speaking to reporters in the White House, Trump said he hoped other Muslim nations in the region will follow the UAE.
“Now that the ice has been broken, I expect more Arab and Muslim countries will follow the United Arab Emirates,” he said.
Netanyahu said it was a “historic day” in response to Trump’s tweets about the normalisation deal.
In a news conference later, he said he agreed to delay the annexation in the occupied West Bank as part the deal, but he would “never give up our rights to our land”.
The Palestinian groups slammed the Israel-UAE agreement, saying it does nothing to serve the Palestinian cause and ignores the rights of the Palestinian people.
Hamas condemned the deal, which it said was a “treacherous stab in the back”.
“This agreement does absolutely not serve the Palestinian cause, it rather serves the Zionist narrative. This agreement encourages the occupation [Israel] to continue its denial of the rights of our Palestinian people, and even to continue its crimes against our people,” Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said in a statement.
The Fatah movement said the UAE is “flouting its national, religious and humanitarian duties” toward the Palestinian cause.
United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomed the agreement between Israel and the UAE.
“The UAE and Israel’s decision to normalise relations is hugely good news,” Johnson said on Twitter.
“It was my profound hope that annexation did not go ahead in the West Bank and today’s agreement to suspend those plans is a welcome step on the road to a more peaceful Middle East.”
France welcomed Israel’s decision to suspend its planned annexation of areas of the occupied West Bank under the historic agreement, calling it a “positive step”, Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement, adding that the suspension “must become a definitive measure”.
The accord paved the way for a resumption of talks between Israelis and Palestinians with the aim to establish two states, he said, calling it “the only option” to achieve peace in the region.
Iran’s foreign ministry condemned the deal normalising ties between Israel and the UAE, calling it a dangerous and “strategic act of idiocy” that will further “invigorate the axis of resistance in the region”, according to the official IRNA news agency.
“The shameful measure of Abu Dhabi to reach an agreement with the fake Zionist regime (Israel) is a dangerous move and the UAE and other states that backed it will be responsible for its consequences,” the statement said, according to IRNA
“This is stabbing the Palestinians in the back and will strengthen the regional unity against the Zionist regime,” the foreign ministry said.
Iran’s Tasnim news agency, which is affiliated to the country’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, said the deal between Israel and the UAE on normalising ties was “shameful”.
Iran’s religious leaders have yet to react to the deal.
Antonio Guterres, the United Nations secretary-general, said he hoped the normalisation of ties between Israel and the UAE can help realise a two-state solution with the Palestinians.
“The secretary-general welcomes this agreement, hoping it will create an opportunity for Israeli and Palestinian leaders to re-engage in meaningful negotiations that will realise a two state-solution in line with relevant UN resolutions, international law and bilateral agreements,” a spokesman for Guterres said in a statement.
“The secretary-general will continue to work with all sides to open further possibilities for dialogue, peace and stability,” the spokesman added.